Han mum about taking time off for campaigning

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 08, 2019 - Page 3

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, yesterday neither confirmed nor denied a rumor that he would take time off from his mayoral duties to focus on his presidential campaign.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) on Sunday said he had obtained information that Han would take time off from the city government starting on Monday or Tuesday next week.

This means Han would miss question time at the city council scheduled to begin at the end of the month, Chen said.

By doing so, Han would be “abandoning Kaohsiung and treating its residents like dirt,” he said.

Han should either focus on his job as mayor or resign, unless he is not confident about winning the presidential election in January next year, Chen said.

Asked about the rumor, Han said that if he takes time off, he would discuss the matter with the city council and adhere to government regulations.

“I will definitely inform everyone when I formally apply for leave,” he said.

Asked if he is planning to take time off starting on Monday next week, Han walked away without answering the question.

The Kaohsiung City Government has not received any formal application for leave from Han, Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Anne Wang (王淺秋) said.

Asked to comment, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said he took 60 days off from the city government using his paid annual leave when running for president in 2016.

He would respect Han’s decision on the matter, he said, but added that presidential candidates must be 100 percent devoted to the election in its final phase.

Voters would like to see their favored candidate at campaign rallies, he said.

In related news, Han’s campaign office yesterday pressed charges against political commentator Huang Kuang-chin (黃光芹) for slander and public humiliation.

Since June 14, Huang has made multiple Facebook posts defaming Han and his family, campaign office spokeswoman Ho Ting-huan (何庭歡) said.

However, the office declined to reveal the problematic posts.

Huang said she will not succumb to any pressure to silence her.

“[I will] not stop writing, as I am not fighting for my own survival, career or interests, but rather for future generations,” she wrote on Facebook.

Additional reporting by CNA